MyHeritage DNA Test: Is This a Middle Eastern Suit and Pocket Decoration? Maybe Egyptian? Or Lebanese? Or Jewish?

By taking a closer look at this man standing behind my great-grandmother, in the wedding photo of my mother’s grandparents’ wedding photo from 1919, it appears we truly are seeing my Middle Eastern, or Jewish, ancestors; which up until this year, we assumed were Italian.

My mom’s MyHeritage DNA test, as well as mine, indicate that my mom’s grandparents on her father’s side consisted of a Middle Eastern man and a Sephardic Jewish woman, from southern Italy.

Overnight, I began receiving several comments from different subscribers across the world, on the YouTube version of yesterday’s blog post. Here are the 3 that stood out the most to me:

“[The groom] does look Middle Eastern. But also Egyptian.”

“[The groom] looks Half Lebanese, Half Egyptian.”

“That man at 3:12 with something in his left shirt pocket, looks 100% middle eastern to me.”

So now I’m really curious… With the help of the Internet, I wonder if anyone would be able to help me pinpoint what native county my Middle Eastern grandfather’s side came from?

I zoomed in on the man who is seen at the 3:12 mark of the video I made. He is the one standing directly behind my Sephardic Jewish great-grandmother.  I had never noticed before how his suit and jacket and noticeably different that the other men. And yes, what exactly is that decoration on his left shirt pocket?

Whose side of the family is he from, anyway? Is he from the Jewish side or the Middle Eastern side? If all the men in the photo are with the groom’s side, then he is Middle Eastern. But if this photo shows the family member’s of each side of the wedding party, then maybe he’s on the Jewish side, which explains why he’s standing behind my great-grandmother?

What exactly can we learn about my ancestors from this man’s suit? Does anyone out there know? Can anyone help me? Please leave a comment below if you have any intuition on the subject.

I am grateful!

Also, if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like my mom and I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

How Race and Religion are Connected and Why Isaac and Ishmael are behind It All

This is me in a video I made for you, which explains all this in a 5 and a half minute video, in case you prefer that over reading the 1378 word blog post below it, which I wrote 7 years ago.

Meet your great-grandfather Isaac.  Or Ishmael.  Or maybe even both…

How do you determine who ethnically is a “white person” and who is not?  Are Jews considered to be white?  What about Greeks and Italians?  And though Central and South Americans typically have tan skin, why is it there something about them still seems sort of white, as opposed to a person from India or China? These are some of the “side effect” questions that will be answered as I explain my theory on the origin of race and religion.

No, this theory doesn’t start with Adam and Eve.  Nor does it start with Noah and his family repopulating the world after the Great Flood.  It starts 20 generations after Adam, and 10 generations after Noah, with Abraham (the father of the Jewish and the Arab people), being promised by God that he would have a son in his old age.  After waiting and having no sign of this coming true, Abraham’s wife Sarah convinced him to sleep with their Egyptian maidservant Hagar, in order to have a son to carry on the family lineage.  At age 86, Abraham goes with his wife’s plan (like the way Adam ate the fruit after Eve convinced him to) and has a son with his maidservant- the son is named Ishmael.  However, 13 years later Abraham’s wife Sarah gets pregnant with a son, as God promised, and this son is named Isaac.

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Abraham eventually sends away his maidservant Hagar and his son Ishmael into the wilderness (Genesis 21:14), and raises Isaac his as true first-born son.  Today, thousands of years later, it is through Ishmael that Arabs and Muslims link their heritage through.  Accordingly, Jews and Christians trace through heritage back to Isaac.  Now we are in the meat of my theory.

As generations passed and both families migrated from their Middle Eastern homelands, the descendants of Ishmael moved south and east- to Africa, Asia, and America (becoming the Native American Indians in North America and the Aztec Indians in Central and South America).  In fact, the angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael “will live east of all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).  Meanwhile the descendants of Isaac moved north and west- to Europe, Russia, and eventually to America (killing off, running off, or marrying the Native American Indians).

Notice how today the countries that are represented by the descendants of Ishmael are generally practice religions that do not involve the Judeo-Christian God (worshipped by Christians, Catholics, and Jews) but instead are tied Hinduism, Animism, Taoism, Buddhism, Communism (Atheism) and Islam.  And of course the descendants of Isaac are matched to the Christianized nations: For example, Scotland is mainly Protestant, Ireland is mainly Catholic, and England is mainly Anglican (Presbyterian).

Almost 2,000 years ago thanks the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys to preach Christ where the Jews had already settled (in Europe, specifically the Mediterranean areas) and also the birth of Christianity as a whole, the countries that were already familiar with the Judeo-Christian God were basically the first to get introduced to Jesus as the Messiah.  As far as all the Ishmael-descended areas, like modern day Africa and Asia that were less familiar or not familiar at all with Christianity, they were not and have not typically been as generally open and accepting to “our God” as Isaac’s descendants.

The Ishmaelese Middle East

Ishmaelese Africa

Ishmaelese Asia

I do believe that whether or not a nation (or individual person) is a descendent of Isaac has much to do with their religion, race, and culture.  However, there are obviously exceptions.  One of them is Russia, which had been mainly Christian up until the point of its embrace of Communism.  Another exception is African-Americans, whom most identify with Christianity, as opposed to most Africans living in Africa.

And then there’s the “half breed” nations that make up Central and South America.  For the most part, their blood is mixed of Indigenous Americans (Native American, Aztec, etc.) who migrated from Asia through modern day Alaska, and European lineage from those who “discovered” America.  So in essence, the inhabitants of modern day Central and South America are half Isaackian, half-Ishmaelese; though they have accepted the religious beliefs of Isaac’s descendants (largely Catholic).  Read more about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

Yes, I did just now make up and use the words Isaackian (to describe the descendants of Isaac who are prone to believe in the Judeo-Christian God) and Ishmaelese (to describe the descendants of Ishmael who typically do not).  And now that you hopefully understand what those terms represent, I will begin using them frequently.

What started much of this thought process was when I recently began “Climbing the Family Tree” and realized that so many of my ancestors had last names that are Jewish (Schell, Klaar, Ullman, Wiseman, Vite) yet there is no solid proof that I actually am- only family rumors and tradition.  If I assume that none of the people in my family tree were Jewish, well, still, I have Jewish names in my family tree.  So that got me thinking, Jewish people and “white people” are essentially the same thing, coming from the same common ancestors.  Whereas someone who is Japanese (Ishmaelese) wouldn’t have last names in their family tree that would resemble a Jewish last name.

So going back to one of the questions I asked in the beginning, are Jewish people considered to be white?  Yes.  Though their homeland is Israel and though they are a Middle Eastern people group, they blend in with us Americans so well.  And that’s part of my fascination with pointing out which celebrities are Jewish.  Half the casts of Friends and Seinfeld are Jewish (The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld) as well as The Wonder Years (The Ethnicity of the Cast of The Wonder Years), but the fact that most of us don’t know which ones are or aren’t shows that despite most of us being a mix of European blood, those Middle Eastern descended Jews are still our cousins.

Of course ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of us descended from Isaac or Ishmael or how much blood we have of either (I’m around 12.5% Ishmaelese); it just predicts the tone of our skin and our traditional religion, according to my theory.  By no means do I see the Isaackians as superior to Ishmaelese for the fact that I myself worship the Judeo-Christian God.  But what I do recognize is what God himself proclaimed to Abraham regarding Isaac and Ishmael:

But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac, and I will establish my everlasting covenant for his descendants after him,” (Genesis 17:19).

“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly.  He shall become the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation,” (Genesis 17:20).

What’s most important from those verses I just quoted is that God promised to establish his covenant through the line of Isaac.  In other words, the savior of the world would come in the form of a Jew.  Not to mention that the Isaackians coincidently would hold the responsibility of sharing their God with the Ismaelese- that’s why Christian missionaries exist.  That’s why Christianity is now the largest religion of the Ishmaelese country of South Korea, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea#Religion

We all have the same great-grandparents at the tops of our family trees.  I try to imagine how different the world would be if Abraham wouldn’t have had a son with Hagar, if he just would have waited another 13 years for his own wife to become pregnant.  But he jumped the gun and changed the course of history (for him, it was the future) forever.  Though if he didn’t, I wouldn’t exist, being that my grandmother is Mexican.  Not only would I have not written this and you wouldn’t have read it, but there wouldn’t have been any of this to write about.

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LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 1- “LA X”


“When I die, what do you think will happen to me?” -Sayid


The anticipation… Such a big deal! Like being a kid… So exciting!

Yet now that the 23 millions of us have seen the first two hours of the final season of our favorite show ever, we’ve got our homework cut out for us. Watching LOST is a serious event. The whole time I’m taking notes, scene by scene.

Our predictions about the two different Last Supper promotional photos featuring the LOST cast were accurate: There are two main different timelines going on. No more flash forwards or flashbacks. It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  We are now dealing with the narrative device referred to as “flash-sideways”.

But by the finale, does only one of these destinies become the real one?  The writers of the show aren’t saying.  They don’t want to acknowlege either of the realities as the alternate one.  Until the finale episode, all we can do is just enjoy seeing what would have happened had the plane never crashed.  Because we’ve always been curious anyway about that.

There are two main parts from the episode that keep bouncing around in my mind.

The first: Who is in Sayid’s body now? Jacob. He told Hurley (in the new unknown year with the temple and the new Asian dude with long hair) to take Sayid to the temple (even though Jacob died an hour before in 1977). Sayid died at the temple (or was murdered by the men that were supposed to save him), then soon after comes back to life. That’s no coincidence.

In one of The Lord’s Supper parodies, Sayid assumes the role of Judas and John Locke represents Christ. Prediction: The new Sayid will betray the new Locke. In other words, Jacob will deceive Esau by making him think Sayid is still alive.

There is much irony in Sayid’s asking of what will happen to him when he dies. He was assuming and referring to his soul’s judgment to hell. But for us viewers, we now see this was a foreshadowing that the thing that would happen to him when he died is that Jacob would take over his body.

Going back to the fact that Jacob told Hurley to take Sayid to the temple in 1977, this solidifies a theory and anwers a mystery that we’ve been wondering since the 2nd season.  After a person has died on the island, and after Esau (or Jacob) takes the form of their body, they can appear as that person at any point in the past, but not in the future. Dying as that person prevents them from living on in present day.

When Jacob appears to Hurley and he had already been dead for an hour, remember that he was killed by Ben in the future.  Therefore he was able to go back in time and instruct Hurley to set up the takeover of Sayid’s body.

Pretty clever, yes?

The second thing bouncing around in my head is this: What year are Jack and Co. stuck in on the island? Based on the temple’s structure and the clothing, I assume sometime in the 1500’s, at the latest. I call this timeline “The Turban Times” because of the burgundy turbans worn by some of the temple mongers.

We’ve been introduced to two new bad guys. I think they’re bad guys. The Japanese dude with long hair. Until I learn his name and until I learn his actual ethnic background, I will call name him Emperor Miyagi. And his weird looking scientist friend, Dr. Hooknose. Both of them appear to be up to no good. But right now we’re still trying to sort out who’s good and who’s bad.

I hold true to my predictions that somehow in the end Ben Linus will end up being a good guy. Based on the fact that Benjamin in the Bible was righteous. Even the good guys are at least a little bad on LOST.

In closing, I have a feeling that the Egyptian cross, the ankh, will continue to have a major symbolic meaning for this final season. It is the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life” and represents the deities of the afterlife. The ankh was believed by the Egyptians to protect them against sickness, infertility, and a loss of psychic powers.

When it’s all said and done, the struggle on the island will all come down to Jacob and Esau’s struggle for eternal life, which they attempt to maintain through the appearance of the bodies of those who have died on the island. Sort of like on the movie The Skeleton Key.

And those who for whatever reason made their way to the island are forever exposed to the game of Jacob vs. Esau. That is, unless the alternative timeline proves to be solid. I have a feeling it won’t.

Read my recap from last night’s episode:

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 14- “Across the Sea”